Archives for May, 2008

Kirkwall, Orkney

I’m in Kirkwall on the Orkney islands for a conference on maritime societies in the Viking and Medieval periods. It’s a lovely sunny evening, which is apparently a rare and precious occurrence around these parts. The dialect is also something to experience: the waitress at the fish & chips shop I’m in took my order…

In 2005, a team led by myself and Howard Williams excavated a 9th century boat inhumation burial at Skamby in Kuddby parish, Östergötland, Sweden. The finest finds we made in the grave were a collection of 23 amber gaming pieces. These are extremely rare, the previous Swedish set having surfaced in the 1870s when Hjalmar…

Junior Meets the Astronaut

Me and Junior just got home from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. First we were shown the portrait collection and the main meeting room where a lot of Nobel prizes have been decided. Then, under the joint auspices of the Academy and the Swedish Skeptics Society, we heard an hour’s lecture by one of…

Sacred Imagery on Dish Rags

[More blog entries about archaeology, Sweden, Gotland, religion, feminism, ; arkeologi, Gotland, religion, feminism.] Some time ago I received a gift from my aunt, bought at the County Museum of Gotland, a limestone island in the Baltic with an extremely rich archaeological record. The gift was a sponge-fabric dish rag, and I found its decoration…

Many people are afraid of cell phones and base stations because they emit radiation. These people tend to know very little about physics, and are generally unaware that daylight through a window on an overcast day is also radiation. Much careful research has turned up no significant health risks with cell phone use or proximity…

Today I joined my friends Mattias Pettersson and Roger Wikell for a day of digging on an Early Mesolithic seal hunting station in the landlocked former archipelago of Tyresta. The Urskogsstigen 4 site is currently on a wooded hilltop at about 77 meters above sea level, and thus likely to date from about 8000 cal…

W00t! Phoenix Survived!

The Phoenix Lander survived touch-down on Mars, has deployed its solar panels successfully and is transmitting pictures! Yay! Here’s the news feed where this baby’s discoveries will be announced over the coming months.

Bengt Nordqvist has published a preliminary account in Offa of his amazing finds from the Finnestorp war booty site. Check it out (in German)! I hope to contribute to the Finnestorp project in some way or another in the future. For more about war booty finds, se an earlier post of mine. Indirectly, Finnestorp has…

Birka Graves On-Line

Ulf Bodin and his team at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm have built a really, really sweet database and search interface for Hjalmar Stolpe’s Birka graves. Between 1871 and 1895, Stolpe dug about 1100 graves in the cemeteries surrounding the Viking Period town of Birka on an island in Lake Mälaren near Stockholm.…

Sing Gibberish to the Lord

I’ve posted a fine example of Ansiktsburk song lyrics before: listen to a song in a language you don’t understand, and try to imagine that it is actually sung in your own language though with a funny accent. Then write down whatever words you can half make out. Thus the Swedish drinking song “Helan går”…